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Read: I'm ready to go

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Sportal.co.nz     28 Sep 2011     Getty Images

The No.8 has yet to play at the Rugby World Cup after suffering an ankle injury playing against the Wallabies in Brisbane in August.

But he has returned to training and is eager to taste competitive action before the knockout stages of the competition begin.

"It's obviously been pretty tough watching, and pretty exciting as well, watching the boys go. The amount of teams that are playing well at the World Cup, I just want to go out there and add my bit," the Cantabrian said.

While the All Blacks have gone through their pool unbeaten, Read has been undergoing intense rehab in order to ensure his World Cup dream did not die.

"When I did the injury and heard a crack and a pop I thought something was pretty seriously wrong and it probably did go through my head a little bit (that my tournament might be over)," he said.

"So it's pretty good to be sitting here and hopefully playing on Sunday and going well."

"It's been really great to have the physios and the doctors on hand 24/7. That's pretty much what it has been like, really getting into the rehab and looking after it. I think that's really done wonder for (the ankle)."

Having been on the sidelines for a month, Read knows his match fitness will not be up to scratch just yet, even against a team like Canada, who are coached by former All Black Kieran Crowley.

"But the trainers have been doing as much as they can do to try and keep me as fit as possible. It will be a test but it's something I'll take in my stride," Read said.

Although Read might be poised for his first appearance in the tournament, assistant coach Wayne Smith confirmed Richard Kahui (hamstring) was definitely ruled out of Sunday's clash at Wellington Regional Stadium.

Adam Thomson (knee and ankle) is also in doubt, with Smith describing him as 'touch and go'.

But Cory Jane (head knock) and Israel Dagg (bruised thigh), who also failed to finish the 37-17 win against France, were both in consideration.

Smith was playing it coy on whether Mils Muliaina and Zac Guildford - looking to get their first taste of action in the tournament - and others who have played only a limited role, such as Corey Flynn and Isaia Toeava, would get game time.

"Mils is certainly up for selection and is keen as," Smith said. "He was racing the young fella Isaia Toeava in a few sprints and looked pretty good and pretty keen. But we'll see how it goes."

"Zac's pretty keen too. The guys who haven't played are obviously really keen. Mils, Kieran and Zac have been real standard-setters for us during the week."

"Whilst they haven't been able to take the track they've led the way off the field."

Smith was adamant the match against Canada was not being seen purely as a game to give the fringe players a run ahead of the quarter-finals.

"We don't see it like that. This is an opportunity to build momentum," he said.

"Yes it was a good win (against France) but we were patchy. We've got some areas that we really need to improve in. We've looked at those the last couple of days and we've got to get those right this week."

Smith also suggested Canada, who defeated Tonga earlier in the tournament, would be more of a challenge than many had anticipated.

"I've got a few clips there of Chauncey O'Toole and Adam Kleeberger, the centre DTH van der Merwe and Aaron Carpenter the No.8 who has been really good. He's a good ball carrier. I think they've all had big tournaments," he said.

"They will be looking to perform on a big stage, I would suggest. So it won't be what people expect. It will be competitive."